Who vs Whom on Campus

Gazoo_Front

On the front page of today’s Montreal Gazette there is an article about yesterday’s protest at McGill University. Concordia and McGill students decried the schools’ administrations lack of action on sexual misconduct accusations. Clearly an issue of great importance.

But let me disrupt your thoughts on these allegations for a moment and turn to another important issue; grammar. The photograph above accompanied the front page story. What caught my eye was the poster asking “Who are you protecting”.  Aside from the lack of a question mark, I wonder if “Whom are you protecting?” would have been a better choice.

In the 1950s Johnny Carson hosted a game show called Who Do You Trust which is often cited not just for Johnny’s witty retorts, but for the grammar question.

Now, I am far from a grammar expert, but the folks at Grammar Matters provide this explanation:

Rewrite a simple sentence, using he or him in place of who or whom, and rephrasing the sentence appropriately. For instance, “Who do you trust?” may not sound wrong to you. But “Do you trust he?” certainly does. You can see that it would be “Do you trust him?” so you know it should be “Whom do you trust?”

So, “who are you protecting” becomes “are you protecting he?”Nope, that’s not it. “Are you protecting him?” makes a better sentence, which means whom is the way to go. As a graduate of McGill I can only hope the holder of the poster is a Concordia student!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

Advertisements

Presidential Decorum a Relic of the Past

160618195550-oval-office-empty

I have a friend who is American but currently resides here in Montreal. He has often commented to me about how knowledgeable he finds many Canadians are regarding the United States. I have pointed out that for Canadians, living so close to the USA, it is almost impossible not to become more than familiar with our neighbours.

As the late Canadian prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau once explained, sharing a border with the USA is like sleeping with an elephant. Even the slightest movement has a great effect on us.

US_FlagThey say that the British do pomp and circumstance well given their royal heritage, but I maintain that when it comes to the trappings of patriotism, no one can outdo the USA. From flags to military uniforms to flags on military uniforms, great reverence is the norm for these symbols. (Ever notice how the flag on the right shoulder of a uniform is flipped so the stars appear in the upper right corner? Why? If you assume the flag is being carried on a pole, the usual configuration would indicate that the soldier is going backward, or retreating. That won’t do.)

Recently in Korea Shaun White, an Olympic medalist from the US got caught up in his own exuberance and lost track of the flag he was waving about. The flag got entangled in his snowboard and as he walked away it was seen dragging on the ground. It was an accident; he did not intentionally defile the flag, he didn’t step on it or set it on fire. Yet there was a hue and cry on social media, chastising the athlete.

All of this leads me to wonder how another great symbol of the United States, the office of the president, can be so egregiously degraded by President Trump without a similar outpouring of disgust.

All of this leads me to wonder how another great symbol of the United States, perhaps the greatest, the office of the president, can be so egregiously degraded by President Trump without a similar outpouring of disgust. The actual Oval Office, as well as the position of president, are steeped in decorum and respect. At least they were until the current inhabitant moved in.

Silly misspelled posts on social media, asinine rantings at campaign-style rallies, “management by Twitter”, and the ludicrous slagging of former presidents have all contributed to Trump’s besmirching of the office.

Regardless of party affiliation, the presidency of the United States has garnered respect, it was held in high esteem and the incumbent was pressed to live up to that expectation. Yet since Trump assumed the role, his total lack of decorum, of respect for his predecessors, has become the norm. Why don’t those who were so quick to denounce White for dragging the flag make a whole lot of noise about what Trump is doing to the much-vaunted presidency? Just when we Canadians think we’ve got our neighbours figured out, it boggles the mind.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Banning Through Traffic On Mont-Royal Just Another Slap For Downtown Merchants

Mont-Royal

According to Wikipedia: With access to six universities and twelve junior colleges in an 8 kilometer (5 mi) radius, Montreal, Quebec (Canada) has the highest proportion of post-secondary students of all major cities in North America. This represents roughly 248,000 post-secondary students, one of the largest numbers in the world.

This is just one of the ingredients that give Montreal an actual livable downtown. Unlike many cities in North America with downtown cores that are essentially abandoned once the business day is over, there is an entire group of Montrealers who live right downtown.

Many, certainly not all, of these students not only attend school in the city but also live there. There are numerous student residences and much housing geared to students. To say nothing of the plethora of condominium developments, of which a new one seems to pop up every day. This is just one of the ingredients that give Montreal an actual livable downtown. Unlike many cities in North America with downtown cores that are essentially abandoned once the business day is over, there is an entire group of Montrealers who live right downtown. A vibrant community that keeps the sidewalks from being rolled up at a certain time as is the case in many other cities.

However, the last few years have been hard on the downtown merchants. Several multi-year infrastructure repair projects, no doubt much required, have put a strain on many restaurants and bars. Some have seen their front doors blocked by an assortment of equipment while others have had their streets torn up for months on end, both of which make access to the business tricky if not impossible. In a city encrusted with bars and restaurants of all stripe, competition is fierce at the best of times. These poor owners must feel like a boxer with an arm tied behind his or her back.

Bishop_Construct

A debate is currently brewing about a road that passes over the mountain (it isn’t really a mountain, more of a hill, but that’s what it’s called, Mont-Royal). The newly elected mayor and her cohorts have decided, without public consultation (there is a petition here), to end through traffic over Mont Royal. Instead, they would allow vehicles from the east to go only as far as one parking lot, and those coming from the east only as far as another lot.

But more than just an inconvenience, to close the road to through traffic would be just one more hindrance to gaining access to downtown. … with so many other nuisances this is timed very poorly for long-suffering merchants.

Let’s say you wanted to take visiting friends to see the lovely large park that sits atop Mont Royal – designed by the same fellow who did New York’s Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted – you would have to enter from the west. If you then wanted to scoot along to the look-out on the other side of the mountain you would have to backtrack, circumnavigate Mont-Royal and enter from the east. Less traffic over the top, perhaps, but no doubt havoc on summer days on other streets.

But more than just an inconvenience, to close the road to through traffic would be just one more hindrance to gaining access to downtown. Granted not a major conduit to downtown’s bars and restaurants, but with so many other nuisances this is timed very poorly for long-suffering merchants.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Time For Major GOP Funders To Withhold

180217141544-emma-gonzalez-fort-lauderdale-anti-gun-rally-2-17-2018-full-169

In the wake of yet another mass killing at yet another US school, the rallying cry has gone out to get elected officials to do something about the ridiculously easy access to high-powered guns in the United States. And as usual, one party, the Democrats, are standing with those shouting for an end, while Republicans blather on about “thoughts and prayers”.

Gun proponents often trot out the tired old saw that they believe explains how guns don’t kill people, people kill people. It’s cute but totally absurd. Guns don’t kill people: people with guns kill people. That’s just more simple logic: no guns = no gun deaths.

Is it that Republicans have little care for future victims? Do they not think the situation is now long out of hand? Well if they do they have a funny way of showing it. Sadly it all comes down to one thing in their stony hearts: money. Filthy lucre.

According to an Opinion piece in the New York Times from October 4, 2017:

Most Americans support stronger gun laws — laws that would reduce deaths. But Republicans in Congress stand in the way. They fear alienating their primary voters and the National Rifle Association.

I don’t know about their primary voters, but the National Rifle Association donates millions of dollars to candidates and spends millions more sponsoring events supporting primarily GOP candidates. In the last election, they spent upwards of $30M getting Donald Trump elected (of course, as we will all soon find out, the Russians helped out as well). No wonder he refuses to do anything about the situation. The logic is simple: it is not in the best financial interest of politicians to bite the hand that feeds them. And the NRA is a harsh master, threatening to withdraw funding at the mere mention of undeniably sane proposals (background checks for one). They are not big on the idea of compromise. No art of the deal for them.

Is it conceivable that a major donor to candidate X could threaten to withhold contributions unless the candidate refuses NRA money?

Gun proponents often trot out the tired old saw that they believe explains how guns don’t kill people, people kill people. It’s cute but totally absurd. Guns don’t kill people: people with guns kill people. That’s just more simple logic: no guns = no gun deaths.

But what if some of the other big donors took a stand? What if pressure was brought to bear on other large donors to GOP candidates? Is it conceivable that a major donor to candidate X could threaten to withhold contributions unless the candidate refuses NRA money? Should the gun control advocates be lobbying other major donors in an effort to get them to apply pressure?

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Trump’s Potty Mouth Deters Media From Real Issue

The concept of debating or discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin has a very long history. It goes way back, but no matter how far into its past you delve it still means the same thing. It refers to people wasting time pondering a topic of no real value while other more germane issues go unchecked.

The actual words are, frankly, irrelevant. Had Trump referred to these two places as filthy cesspools it would be no less egregious.

Yesterday many in the media provided a prime example of the counting angels canard. They devoted hours to the investigation and analysis of whether President Trump asked why the USA has to have immigrants from shithole or shithouse countries. Various talking heads appeared along with in-studio guests to get to the bottom of this most pressing issue.

The fact that the president swears is not the problem. I am sure he is neither the first nor the last to do so. That his statements were racist is of much more concern.

The crux of the matter is that the president spoke in a derogatory manner about Haiti and the entire continent of Africa. The actual words are, frankly, irrelevant. Had Trump referred to these two places as filthy cesspools it would be no less egregious. I can’t help but think that the major networks are devoting so much time to this because of the shock value of the word: call it the shit factor.

Shit house or shit hole, Trump’s presidency so far has been a real shit show.

As was the case when Turks invaded Constantinople while scholars were distracted debating the angel puzzle, with the media enjoying a feeding frenzy over Trump’s strong language, they are not pressing him on the real issues. Shit house or shit hole, Trump’s presidency so far has been a real shit show. I implore the media to step back and look at the big picture and not be thrown off kilter by sensationalism and minutiae.  Don’t open a loophole for the Trump administration to jump through.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Trump Losing Grip, Soon The Funnel Be Over

Since the bombshell dropped last week, no, not the weather bomb that pounded the northeast with snow and frigid temperatures, but the publication of Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury, many have been questioning President Trump‘s mental state. Is he capable of carrying out the duties of the office?

No this is full-fledged ego-fed looney-tunes, and it’s running the biggest country in the world.

As soon as several excerpts of the book were released 24 hours before publication, news channels had a feeding frenzy. All Wolff all the time. Even the president himself panicked and, bypassing White House counsel, had his personal lawyer issue a cease and desist letter to the author and the publisher. All to no avail, as the book hit shelves and Kindles as planned. Trump then dissed the book as fiction, but his initial reaction had already spoken volumes.

So now the focus is on Trump’s mental capacity. Dr. Bandy X. Lee Yale University psychiatry professor had already raised concerns about the potential of mental illness. The president Tweeted that he is no less than a ‘very stable genius’. I am not a doctor, but it seems to me that diagnosing anyone based on a person’s public persona rather than an actual medical examination is a bit dicey.

But what’s worse than Trump being a wacko is that millions of people knowingly voted for him.

However, Trump has been the same all through the election process. The debates, speeches, and rallies were all circus-like events thanks to his juvenile antics. He has always given me the impression that he, in my non-medical opinion, is bonkers. But what’s worse than Trump being a wacko is that millions of people knowingly voted for him.

It is unfair of those Trump supporters who put the man in the Oval Office to now jump ship because the world is openly questioning his sanity. You voted for him, now help get rid of him. We’re not talking just a wee bit bent here, there are always personal attributes that one person sees as abnormal, while others just brush off. (Frankly, I never thought Ronald Reagan was playing with a full deck, even before the Alzheimer’s diagnosis.) No this is full-fledged ego-fed looney-tunes, and it’s running the biggest country in the world. The funnel soon be over I fear. Now that’s scary.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Theaters of War and Entertainment

Theater is a word often used to indicate an area of warfare. I have often thought that a bizarre choice of word. According to Wikipedia:

In warfare, a theater or (theatre) is an area or place in which important military events occur or are progressing. A theater can include the entirety of the air space, land and sea area that is or that may potentially become involved in war operations.

At any given time there are numerous wars ongoing. Not just the conflicts that catch the attention of the public via the media, but many others in places never heard of. Wikipedia has a breakdown of the wars currently being fought. There are many, therefore there are many theaters of war.

That’s an odd word to use if you ask me. When I think of a theater I think of a presentation being put on by actors. Whether live on a stage or on a big screen, the actions are not real. When the performance is over the actors go home, the audience leaves either disappointed or moved, and preparations begin for the next show including prop management.

In a theater of war, there is no make-believe, no acting, and certainly no props. At the end of the day, the participants don’t just go home and relax. Many may never truly relax again. On a theater stage, a gun or knife is a harmless prop used to appear real, while in a theater of war those weapons of death are all too real. The IEDs found in Afghanistan are not props, nor are the bullets. They are actual killing and maiming devices. The atomic bomb that landed in the Pacific Theater of War was certainly no stage property.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I have always had strong reservations about using theater as a word to describe what can be a place of fear and death while also a potentially magical place full of escapism and entertainment.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Twitter Suspends Racist Account

A Britain’s First march in Dewsbury (Image: Andy Catchpool, Huddersfield Examiner)

The folks over at Twitter have taken action by suspending the account of Britain First, a far-right neo-nazi group. While many are praising Twitter for taking steps to block this sort of trash, others are questioning the mega-site’s role in freedom of expression.

I have to admit that no matter how egregious I find this vile group – and unfortunately many more like it – and their message of intolerance and violence, I cannot help but wonder if it is the place of Twitter to suspend the accounts. 

I have to admit that no matter how egregious I find this vile group – and unfortunately many more like it – and their message of intolerance and violence,  I cannot help but wonder if it is the place of Twitter to suspend the accounts. (Twitter has been clear that the account is “suspended” not deleted or permanently removed.)

The presentation of heinous racist tracts is not limited to Twitter, nor for that matter to the Internet. On far too many occasions groups like Britain First have protested in public; often inciting violence. These gatherings usually include people waving racist slogans and comments on placards. Should the vendors of the poster board, nails, glue and stick be held responsible for what the purchaser writes on it?

By providing the medium, does that make one responsible for the content presented thereon? Are obscene phone calls the telephone company’s fault?

By providing the medium, does that make one responsible for the content presented thereon? Are obscene phone calls the telephone company’s fault? I have difficulty relating the two parts of the equation. Newspapers have long been able to provide a forum for diverging points of view in the form of op-eds. The opinions expressed there are often clearly not those of the editorial board of the paper. Twitter to me is a forum. Had the atrocious Tweets originated from @twitter then I would be the first to jump on them, but they come from a third party.

No doubt some will point out that Twitter makes a whole lot of money from these accounts through advertising revenues. I would suggest it is incumbent upon the advertisers to pull their sponsorship; and on us, the Twitter users and casual readers, to ignore these sites.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Poppy Harlow Has Patience of a Saint

Poppy

Yesterday CNN’s Poppy Harlow had an interesting encounter with Roy Moore’s – spokeswoman Jane Porter. I use the word encounter instead of interview because Porter refused to actually be interviewed, preferring instead to ignore Harlow’s questions and say what she wanted. This is not a new tactic, but it has become overused to the point of being infantile.

… journalists are going to have to start informing interviewees that if they continue to evade and ignore the questions asked the interview will be terminated

Sooner or later, and I hope it is sooner, journalists are going to have to start informing interviewees that if they continue to evade and ignore the questions asked the interview will be terminated. It is a journalist’s job to ask tough questions. If the person being interviewed does not like a question they can tell the asker that they will not answer it, but to have them ignore the question and drone on about a different topic should not be tolerated.

Responses to questions that begin with:

What I think you should be asking
The real issue here
What’s more important

Should be cut-off immediately as they are clear indicators that the interviewee is not going to answer the posed question, but is going to go off on a different tangent entirely.

In yesterday’s encounter Harlow, who evidently has the patience of a saint, spent most of the time asking Porter if she was going to answer a specific question, but she never got a simple yes or no.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

In Montreal It’s Bonjour-Hi

Hi

You might think that a city that can and does function in two languages would be a benefit. Particularly when that city is located less than 100 miles from the United States. Montreal is just such a city, offering tourists a real taste of a French-speaking city with the comfort of being understood in English.

Just about perfect you might say. Who could possibly find fault with the concept of store clerks, wait staff, cab drivers and just plain folks greeting one another with Bonjour-Hi? This little couplet has become an unofficial motto for Montreal, one that some see as a welcoming means of determining in which language to continue the discourse, while others deem it an irritant.

The opposition Parti-Québécois wants to pass a motion declaring the use of Bonjour-Hi an irritant. This party would like to see English usage in Montreal eradicated. Instead of embracing the bilingual nature of the city, they push their heads into the sand and refuse to see the positive side of the coin. When it comes to the language debate, Quebec politics turns zoo-like in a hurry.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+